Lynn Dell Hawkins couldn’t stay away from Tracy schools for long. The former Tracy High School assistant principal accepted the role as a Tracy Unified School District Board of Education Trustee on Tuesday, 3 months after he retired.
“I still want to be a part of the district,” Hawkins said after his appointment to the board at a special meeting Tuesday evening. He was one of four applicants to seek an open seat on the board after former trustee Nathalia Hughes Erskine resigned last month. She was elected in 2020 and there are 2 years left on her term.
The other applicants were: Cynthia Wedel, a teacher for 23 years with Tracy Unified, Jefferson and Lammersville school districts; Carrie Grover, director of Tracy Interfaith Ministries who has also worked with children in volunteer positions in school and church settings; and Walter Gouveia, a former TUSD trustee with 45 years of experience working in schools, including 32 years with Tracy Unified as a counselor and teacher.
Hawkins, a Tracy native and 1977 graduate of Tracy High, began his career with Tracy Unified School District in 1996 as a security guard, custodian and groundskeeper while he pursued his college education. Hawkins earned his master’s degree while he was teaching at Willow Community Day School and has been an assistant principal at Tracy High for the past 15 years. He retired from that job in June.
TUSD board President Ameni Alexander asked each of the candidates what unique challenges the district will face in the coming years. Hawkins said that school security, including school resource officers, especially at the high schools, would be a top priority. He also said that as the district searches for new personnel to fill a teacher shortage that it considers the need for diversity in the staff that reflects the diversity of the student population.
The selection process involved each of the trustees naming their top choice among the applicants, and all except Zachary Hoffert, who picked Wedel, chose Hawkins. He was appointed on a 5-1 vote.
Hawkins said after his swearing-in that serving on a policy making board has long been a consideration for him. He said that his wife, Susan’s, late father, Tom Hawkins, was superintendent/principal at Jefferson School and a trustee on the TUSD board, and he always urged Lynn Dell Hawkins to pursue elected office.
“He always told me this: ‘You would be good at it,’” Hawkins said.
“At the end of the day it was like, I’m retired now, it’s been 2 or 3 months,” he said. “This is my first venture into stepping into something else to keep me occupied.”
He added that he expects success in the district will be the result of teamwork on the school board.
“I’ve always played with teams. I’ve coached teams. If we’re going to make any progress in anything it’s all about teamwork. We need to work collaboratively with Tracy Unified School District, the community, because we’re going to need them.”
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